2022 Spirit of Acuto recipient aspires to guide, teach and never stop learning

Jul 07, 2022
Sarah Forster

Sarah Forster ‘12 often reflects on an inspirational quote by Mother Teresa; “We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

She has been surrounded by people throughout her life who live out that mantra and she strives to live her life with the same aspiration. Forster, who holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Newman University, is currently working on earning her master’s degree at Newman while teaching social studies at Jardine Middle School in Wichita, Kansas.

“I think that I’ve been really blessed in my life with people who have instilled that in me and given me that guidance,” said Forster. “The community that I work in at Jardine is a profound community of people who really believe that everything we do every day is going to make a big difference in someone’s life.”

This attribute of Forster’s is just one of the reasons she is the Newman University 2022 Spirit of Acuto Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.

Video: Sarah Forster – 2022 Spirit of Acuto Award Recipient

Encouraging greatness

The Spirit of Acuto Award is named in honor of the driving spirit of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC).

The conviction, “The charity of Christ urges us,” led not only the ASC sisters but also the laity associated with them to respond to the needs of others.

The award honors alumni and friends who, as a reflection of their association with Newman University, have been a driving force, using their talent and training at critical junctures, to move a vision to reality.

Forster’s determination to encourage her students to be the best version of themselves in order to reach their goals is a prime example of moving vision to reality.

Her students leave her classroom knowing education is an important piece to becoming someone who can make differences — whether it be in their home or in their community.

Forster believes every student in her district deserves an opportunity to become something great and to excel beyond what they think is possible.

“With our community here … a lot of our kids don’t hear that very often,” explained Forster. “And so encouraging them to think beyond just their neighborhood is a really big part. And then not just beyond our neighborhood, but beyond Wichita — beyond Kansas.”

Sarah Forster (far left) poses with students from her social studies class at Jardine Middle School.

The Newman influence

Forster said her favorite thing about attending Newman was being surrounded by support and seeing firsthand the passion that professors projected to the students.

This same passion is what influenced the teaching methods she uses in her classroom. She described her Newman professors as “wonderful, phenomenal and inspirational.”

Living out a different daily experience is something teachers adapt to quickly. Preparing for that takes a strong support system and Forster said that support system was unlimited at Newman.

“When you first get into education, you’re kind of shell-shocked by what you see in the classrooms,” explained Forster. “The reality of teaching is a lot different than the idea of teaching. Just having that ability to go back and talk to someone who had been through education and was aware of the challenges of the times was great.

“A big part of the Newman education program was having those supports in place with the different professors we worked with.”

The reality of teaching is a lot different than the idea of teaching. A big part of the Newman education program was having those supports in place with the different professors we worked with.”

Sarah Forster

Forster added that the most important lesson she walked away with was to be a “forever learner.”

She explained, “That was something that was really encouraged at Newman — especially in the education program — that you’re never going to know everything and it’s okay to mess up and try again.

“Newman really built that foundation for me as a young teacher and it’s still with me today.”

Video: 2022 Alumni Awards – Sarah Forster Acceptance Speech